Saturday, September 6, 2014

Five for Friday

Hi everyone. I've been busy, busy, busy with my new little crowd (the appropriate word choice for 31 students). They are adorable and very well behaved! I'm so lucky!!! This will be a quick post. Thank you for hosting Kacey!

Well, I finally got all the art up on the bulletin boards. It took forever this year. Look at all those little faces. We don't even fit on the designated space!

I've said it before. You see art work, I see little personalities. I find it overwhelming to think that I'm responsible for making sure that all my students receive everything they need to succeed in first grade. That they feel unconditionally loved, appreciated and safe. That they learn how to be a kind and empathetic classmate. Every year when parents hand me their precious child to care for, I gasp. What a huge responsibility.
I feel so lucky to love my job. I still can't wait to get to my classroom every day. While I don't run (I'm about to turn 57) anymore, I do more of a joggle (half jog/half waddle), it's exactly where I want to be.

Enough mush, let's move on!

Morning work.

 As always, the kids greet me at the door and then come in and do about ten minutes of quick review at their tables. Right now we're working on our names, numbers and colors. The green, yellow and red lines and a green dot where they begin the formation of their letters has really helped. Nothing new but tried and true. We're learning color words and love this little book. I don't know where it came from and would love to give proper credit. Please, if you know it's rightful owner, let me know!

We've been playing a silly game at the end of the day. In fact, the kids beg for it and it's so simple. It definitely reinforces our lessons from the week.
This week I used shape review cards from Miss Kindergarten ( one of my all time favorite blogs).

I post whatever vocabulary I'm emphasizing on cards around the room. The kids tippy toe( ha!) to one of the cards as I cover my eyes (ha!) and count to ten. I call out a vocab word ( in this case, a shape) and if they're standing under it, they're "out" and have to come sit on the carpet.
Try it with something you really want them to remember. I've used sight words, math concepts, science and social studies vocab and on and on! As silly as it is, they love it!

 Apron news.
I was tickled to see my TA wearing an apron out to recess. She's teaching the kids our numeral poem and used the perfect opportunity to reinforce our lesson. She stopped kids at the bottom of the slide, while they were swinging and riding bikes to recite their favorite numeral's poem. What fun for me to watch the kids enjoy the novelty of the apron. It's right at their eye level! I had also forgotten how much kids of all ages at our school enjoy reading whatever I have in my pockets. They stop me in the halls, cafeteria, all over campus to read the pockets. Makes me smile.

Number five is questionable. You may want to skip right over this one. In fact, I caution you. Many of my ideas flop in a big way.
I'm doing something a little different for my writer's workshop that could totally backfire on me. Sort of like the wrapping up of the school supplies mistake.
this year I have little people, as in very young, who have very immature grips and keep asking me what numbers they need to write their name.  :) So, in an effort to alleviate writing anxiety and to keep the tears at bay( I hate crying that early in the day), I thought I'd try something I'll refer to as "the secret code" (it's not the first time I've used this technique. In fact, it was shown to me many years ago...). What 5 year old, or 4 year old in this case, wouldn't think that sounded cool? My problem is going to come when the older crowd thinks it's really great to use because it's an easy way to be lazy and not write letters to sound out their words.

If you're brave or just curious, read on so this makes sense...

I tell the kids that I received a letter on Sunday.  It's addressed to Aunt Sandy. That would be me. I'll have to explain (lie) that the letter is from my niece and two nephews, who by the way are all college graduates now.
Charlie will be five and doesn't know much about letters yet. He writes a secret code that only he can read. He is always sure to turn his secret code off with a stop sign or period. Since he's the only one who can read it, I'll tell them that I called him on the phone (fake again) and had him tell me what the code said. Tracking with my finger, I'll read the code, "I kicked a soccer goal!" I write it the "book way" underneath his code so that I can read it anytime. We look carefully at  his five star coloring, noting detail and if it matches his secret code. I'm hoping this will free up the young ones to try their own secret code and feel successful. As I mentioned above, I've also had problems with the ones who CAN write using the secret scribble technique to get out of writing.
Next, we pull out Sue's note. She knows some letters and knows that letters clumped together make words that have meaning. I called to ask her what her letters spell too. Sue's note says, "I got new clothes." She even labeled her picture with the first sounds. Again, I write her message underneath her writing the "book way."
Last, comes Mac's letter. He understands a lot about letters and sounds and has used them to stretch out the words to his story. He knows about capitals, spaces and endings. His letter says, " I love my dog!"
 When all is said and done, I'll invite kids up to write a secret code of their own on the white board. I'll have them read what their code says to the class. Then I'll ask someone to try some letters. They can read their sentence when done. Lastly, I'll invite someone up to try with sounding out a short sentence or word. There will be praise for all attempts. You get the idea, I hope.
Like I said I haven't done this in years and it could be a huge mistake. I'll keep you posted!
And finally,
New apron arrivals!

Go to my TPT store to see more! We also updated our cards and if you bought the master pack check out the new additions! Warm up your laminator!
I also have a Facebook page now and would love for people to add their own apron pictures! When I get brave enough, I'll post a video of me singing some songs using the apron. I just can't go there quite yet.
Happy weekend!




  1. I thought your explanation of the "secret code" was fascinating! :) It seems to truly honor each child's attempts and development. Super cute blog by the way!

  2. 31 kiddos!!! Oh my, you must be tired!!! Their artwork looks adorable!! I love those aprons AND your secret code...what a great idea!!

    Hope you're enjoying the weekend!!!
    A Sunny Day in First Grade